I heard the rattling of dishes on the front porch. Since Lou doesn't make noise when he eats, I figured the possum was back–until I looked out the window and saw two enormous raccoons helping themselves to a bit of leftover cat food. They were so huge it took me a minute to figure out what they were. "Well, they're grey, so they aren't skunks. Kind of weirdly shaped for stray cats. Beavers, maybe? Why would we have beavers?"
I knocked on the window, and they both stood on their hind legs to get a look at me before one descended to the cat food dish–dropping his hands directly into it the better to chow down. The other contemplated jumping up on Lou's bed on the wicker chair next to the door before wandering over toward the cat house. Poor Lou was backed into his house, hissing every time they got too close. (I'm pretty sure Lou would never make it as a country cat.)
I have a set of bells looped over the door knob (leftover Christmas decor that has been on the door for about four years now). They've come in handy in scaring off Al and now the raccoon bandits; I jingle them like a demented elf when I open the door to chase off the local wildlife. Once their furry, striped little butts disappeared, I took in the cat food bowl, stopping long enough to pet Lou and tell him I wouldn't have tried to tangle with them either.
Where's Marlin Perkins when you need him?